Tag Archives: Art and architecture.

THE BLEASDALE CIRCLE AGAIN.

Bleasdale Circle with Fairsnape and Parlick looming above.

Another of my winter favourites. This circuit is mainly on lanes and good tracks but takes one right into the hills. I’ve written about it many times but today I have come across some interesting new facts.

For a start, Bleasdale School dating from 1850 where I park is now closed. It soldiered on since the Millenium with about a dozen pupils from the surrounding farms but when the number dropped to two or three its fate was inevitable.

Up the lane, the Parish Hall is heated using a wood pellet boiler with a wind turbine to generate electricity, forward-thinking for a small community. Further on is the uniquely named St. Eadmer Church.

The lane then heads into the hills past a few farms. A footpath diverts to visit Bronze Age Bleasdale Circle. Originally two circles of wooden posts with ditches and a central burial chamber. The wooden posts of the inner circle have been replaced by concrete posts but still are evocative of the site. There is the usual speculation as to the uses of these circles and their positioning. Burial urns from the site have been on view at the Harris Museum in Preston.  The whole site has been planted with a circle of trees which are visible from many parts of Bleasdale. The outer circle, obstructed by the trees, was possibly from an earlier Neolithic era. Ritual sites are often reused over the ages. I visited it today and got my feet very wet in the approach fields.

themodernantiquarian.com

Further into Bleasdale, there is a section of boggy ground before the next farm tracks which come in from the west, like crossing a watershed. All around are good views of the surrounding hills. As well as the Curlew and Lapwings a small flock of Pied Wagtails entertain me flitting along the wall tops. I’m now approaching the properties of the Bleasdale Estate. The estate is now run as partly agricultural and partly a shooting concern but I’ve just unearthed some of its history.

In the C19th a Mr Garnett lived in nearby Bleasdale Tower, he was an agricultural reformer and philanthropist and in 1857 founded The North Lancashire Reformatory School constructed on the estate. It catered for over a hundred boys who worked on the land and in trades such as tailoring and shoemaking as well as receiving an education

“In November 1857, a few weeks after its opening, three boys escaped from the institution due to the fence wall having not been completed. They were all apprehended in Preston the same evening and returned to the Reformatory.”

“Of the 51 discharges for 1865 thirty-three were doing well, twelve convicted, one dead and five missing”

As I walked down the lane today I crossed over Clough Head Brook on a substantial stone bridge which apparently was constructed by the boys. Stonemasons’ tools are depicted on the parapet.

The lane goes through the original school buildings which are now used as cottages and workhouses for the estate. The school enlarged over the years and eventually closed in 1905. A map from 1893 shows the school

In a wall on the corner is a King Geoge V post box [1910 -36]

Taking the shorter route on tarmac brought me past Brooks Farm where an arched ‘packhorse’ bridge is visible over the River Brock. Despite its appearance, it was never built for horses with steep steps at either end. It is not on a known packhorse trail and didn’t appear on maps till 1893. It has been suggested that the bridge was built to provide access from Bleasdale Tower to Bleasdale Church, I wonder if those reform boys built it.

In the wood nearby are some new, not particularly attractive, chalet type holiday lets, a sign of the estate diversifying.

My way back to the school was enclosed by smart beech hedging for which the estate is renowned.

I took this photo of the Bleasdale hills on my way home, St. Eadmer’s church is right of centre.*****

*****

This walk was completed two days ago and since then advice about walking and climbing during the coronavirus emergency has been sensibly updated. As I’m in the vulnerable group I’m taking heed. We are all responsible for limiting the seriousness of the situation in the next few months.

BMC Advice.  18/03/2020

  • People need access to the countryside for their health – both mental and physical.
  • Follow the most current NHS advice regarding health and distancing. Currently Public Health England’s advice is: “you can go for a walk outdoors if you stay more than 2 metres from others.”
  • Consider your means of travel and distance – close to home is best and, despite the environmental impact, it’s better to be in personal cars than public transport at the moment.
  • Stick to familiar areas and low-risk activities.
  • Reduce your risk. Be very aware that medical and rescue services and facilities are going to be extremely stretched and overwhelmed. It would be socially irresponsible to be taking risks at this time that could place an additional burden on medical and emergency services.
  • Do not assume that Mountain Rescue will be available. There is a real possibility of reduced or even no cover for rescue in some areas as this develops.

 

THE EAST COLNE WAY.

A walk through the green lungs of Colne.

I picked up this leaflet at the cafe on Beacon Fell the other day, it looked interesting. Despite my friend Sir Hugh stating  ” The ones I am not enamoured by are where some local authority has connected a lot of inferior paths around the edges of crop fields with no particular objective other than perhaps encircling their borough or domain and claiming this as The Whatevershire Way”  to discover relatively new territory I was prepared to give The East Colne Way a chance.

I’ve driven along the A6068 Nelson to Keighley road many times on my way to walks in the Bronte Country and climbs on Earl Crag and familiar landmarks which I would visit today. This another of my short walks I’ve been doing recently to fit in with the weather and other commitments. I turn off the road to a lakeside carpark at Ball Grove Nature Reserve. This was the site of an C18th water-powered cotton mill which became in 1860 Sagar’s Tannery, the largest in Europe. Production ceased in 1970 and the buildings were demolished all but the present-day cafe.

I strolled alongside the lodges, now nature reserves, and Colne Water to a weir with a fish ladder.

An unofficial scramble brought me onto the road opposite the old cottage Hospital bequeathed by the Hartley family which has been converted into retirement accommodation.

 

Hartley Hospital.

Along the road are the Hartley Almshouses donated again by the Hartley family, yes those of jam fame. Talking to two residents one was very positive the other concerned about damp.

I cut up through some rough fields with ancient boundary walls and stiles, I’m surprised to find a waymarker for my walk, these continue to guide me around the circuit. 

I pass the workers cottages at Bents without a photo and press on up Skipton road to pass the Georgian  Heyroyd House, Apparently round the back are walled gardens.

More stone stiles led across fields to a lane alongside Colne Golf Course. A clapper bridge has had rails added to it – health and safety? It opened onto a lane that looked more like a stream.

The rocky ridge visible ahead is Noyna Hill, a real ‘green lung’ of Colne.

Farm lanes followed and I was soon crossing the causeway at Foulridge Upper Reservoir. The sun was quite warm and I lingered admiring the views over to Pendle Hill, Blacko Tower and round to Noyna and the Great Edge all Pendle walking areas par excellence.

The large gated property, Lower Clough owned by the Barnsfield Construction Co, had some impressive, well-guarded grounds. An open area The Rough is what remains of Lob Common, worryingly new housing seems to be creeping up the hill. Curlew are calling as I walk through. I come out onto a surprising lane lined on one side by handloom weavers’ cottages, several three-storied. Down at the roundabout is the old Turnpike House which I’ve driven past without realising its existence. Also on the lane is Lidgett Hall dated 1749. This delightful Conservation Area backs onto the open countryside where the housing development is occurring – so much for town planning.

Turnpike House.

 

Lidgett Hall.

 

Another open field heads towards a church with the hills above Wycoller in the background. I finish the day with a coffee in the lakeside cafe at Ball Grove Mill. This turned out to be a 5mile walk through beautiful northern countryside giving an insight into the past life of this area on the edge of industrial Colne. The only sour note is the lack of protection from developers to land unchanged from the C17th. 

*****

 

THE SINGING RINGING TREE.

There aren’t many trees on the bleak Pennine Moors above Burnley but in 2006 one was planted on Crown Point south of the town. Architects Tonkin and Liu designed a structure composed of metal pipes which, as well as being a stunning visual feature, creates a musical noise from the wind playing through the pipes. The Burnley Way [which I walked in 2017] predates it and thus avoids it which is a shame, some minor re-routing would easily include this notable landmark.

JD mentioned he had never visited the ‘Tree’,  not many of our friends have either. A walk was hatched to include this site, we procrastinated on several occasions during the stormy weather but today we set forth with a better forecast.  Several suggested walks start off from Townley Hall but parking is charged there so we, or rather I, decide to park up on a street in nearby Walk Mill.

We pick our way up various bridleways, parts of The Burnley Way and The Pennine Bridleway, onto Deerplay Moor. I’m not saying it was all easy going, the farmyards were a mudbath but we got through. Views to our left are down towards the Cliviger Gorge where road and railway head for the delights of Todmorden. We come across a memorial stone to Mary Townley who was instrumental in establishing long-distance routes in the Pennines for horse riders. In 1986 she road from Hexham to Ashbourne to draw attention to the poor state of England’s bridleways. Today these improved bridleways probably benefit mountain bikers rather than those on horseback.

The quotation The air of heaven is that which blows between a horse’s ears.” is, in fact, an Arabian Proverb.

We had a bit of a depressing section on a road where there was evidence of fly-tipping every few hundred metres. I just cannot understand this blatant antisocial behaviour.

The ‘tree’ had been out of sight most of the walk but at last on Crown Point, we left the road on the well-trodden path across to it. Unfortunately, a Union Jack has been stuck into it diminishing the visual impact of the fine installation. There was only a light breeze today so the tubes were only murmuring. We speculated on what sounds were produced in the recent gales, there will probably be something on youtube. 

Crown Point is a fine viewpoint in itself with Burnley below and a backdrop of Pendle Hill. There had been some patches of old snow as we walked up and there was a definite white rim to Pendle Hill. Easy walking took us off the hill directly back to Walk Mill and its historical past,

*****

 

A QUICK WALK ROUND BEACON FELL.

Longridge Fell is usually my quick fix hill for some fresh air and views but the tracks up onto it will be muddy, to say the least. I choose instead Beacon Fell with its well-made tracks,  it is no further to drive. Longridge Fell Is reputedly the most southerly named fell so Beacon Fell must be the second being only one mile further north. I can ascend both of them easily from my house for longer walks but this afternoon I only have an hour or so spare.

As I arrive in the quarry car park a pair of Roe Deer stand and look at me but quickly disappear when I open the car door. I thought I had a photo of the male but nothing shows up.

I walk briskly in a circle around the hill on familiar paths. I’ve never come to terms with the waymarking here.

There are a few dog walkers out, the cafe is strangely quiet. Everywhere seems green and moss-covered, a sign of a mild and very wet winter.

As I’ve mentioned on previous visits up here storms have taken their toll on some areas of the forest with a lot of tree felling taking place to tidy things up. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise as the fell has a more open feel to it now and some of the new plantings are of native deciduous trees. Also, wood carvers have been busy creating new pieces.  I add a few more to my collection. There are ‘Green Men’ carved on some trees… … but today I find something a bit different – a ‘Green Woman’ or has someone taken a fancy to one of the lady volunteer rangers?

An obligatory visit to the trig point and I notice that the views to Fairsnape and Parlick are becoming obscured by growing firs – time for another storm?

I’m back at the car within the hour feeling much refreshed.

DRY FEET TO PILLING.

Knott End to Pilling.

On display next to a caravan site in Pilling is a restored Hudswell 0-6-0 steam engine similar to the ones used on the old Knott End To Garstang Railway, it has been painted in their livery and renamed the Pilling Pig. This abandoned railway was built to link the agricultural areas of Wyre with the mainline. It had a chequered history.

The whistle of these engines squealed like a pig – hence the name Pilling Pig.

The cafe where I park this afternoon is on the site of the old railway terminus at Knott End, next to the ferry over to Fleetwood. This was a favourite place of the painter LS Lowry and several of his paintings include the ferry slipway. To celebrate this association a statue, by local designer Tom Elliot, has recently been installed.

Jetty at Knott End. L S Lowry. 1957.

The above diversions link my walk this afternoon from Knott End to Pilling.

Storms are continuing and fields are flooded so I opt for the raised sea wall to keep my feet dry today, I’m confident enough to walk in trainers. Talking to a resident of the seafront he explains the sea is either way out of sight or breaking over the promenade. Recent sea defences have prevented flooding which is good news.

At the moment the tide is coming in. There are views across to a vague Black Combe and a clearer Morecambe Power Station.

The portion of the foreshore still visible is thronged with wading birds, I forgot my binoculars and the wind is too strong to take zoom shots with my little camera so their species will remain a mystery.

That is apart from this Little Egret which seem to becoming more and more common on our shores and estuaries.

The landside of the path is uninspiring with a few houses, caravan sites and flooded fields. At one point I pass a fenced off reedy area, a tractor is just leaving it and my query of the driver reveals that it is a Mallard breeding area with 40,000 birds who are elsewhere at present. I do not feel it is the moment to discuss my opinion of breeding birds for the shooting fraternity.

All afternoon the Bowland Hills filled the skyline to the east, what a contrast to the flat coastal area. Nearly all the other walkers on the wall have dogs.

The sea wall continues but seems to be fenced off [I’m tempted], the Lancashire Coastal path I’ve been following continues down Fluke Hall Lane into Pilling alongside a delightful period Junior School. Across the way, The Golden Ball inn looks ominously quiet. I’ve time on my hands but decide to explore the village rather than prop up the bar. Dam Lane takes me to a bridge over Pilling Water with a nearby desirable converted windmill. Another raised sea wall goes north to join the embankment I had previously considered following. Signs state that this should not be used from December to April but without a reason given.

I next look around the Parish Church, St. John the Baptist, yet another designed by the Lancaster firm Paley & Austin and built in 1887. There is fine stained glass in the east and west windows. I didn’t realise this church replaced an earlier C18th chapel which is just down the lane, Apparently, it still has the original wooden galleries. One to visit on another occasion.

The only other visitor attraction is Pilling Pottery which was closed. I sat in a cold and windy bus shelter hoping my bus back to Knott End would arrive on time before I froze.  It did –  and my feet were still dry!

I messed up my navigation driving home and ended up on one of the worst roads in Lancashire through Eagland Hill – very narrow, lined by flooded ditches, twisting with sudden right-angled bends,  undulating from subsidence on the marsh and the tarmac breaking up in many places. With Storm Jorge in full swing, I was relieved to reach Nateby and the A6.

*****

NORTHING 438. SKIPWITH COMMON TO FOGGATHORPE.

The correct carpark was found this morning, 50metres down the road. We were the first arrivals and waited for a torrential downpour to pass. The start couldn’t be delayed any longer and waterproofs were needed for the light rain. We headed due east on a good track into the woods, mainly birch at this end with Scots pines further on. All around was heathland, waterlogged at this time of year, giving a pleasant start to the day despite the dampness. The information board states that this is one of the last remaining lowland heaths in the north. Longhorn cattle, Hebridean sheep and Dartmoor ponies graze it to help maintain the habitat. It must be a joy in the summer when the heather is in bloom.

Good progress was made on the easy tracks and soon we were in North Duffield, a rather undistinguished village though it did have a village green and pond. Down a side street was a hut adverting woodcrafts, Stan was busy inside and offered to make us anything from a pillbox to a Welsh Dresser. It would have been good to purchase something from this craftsman who had previously worked in church restorations.

We had been dreading the 2K walk on the busy A163 road, there was no pavement but most drivers gave us a wide birth and by now the sun had come out. In the distance to the south was the massive Drax power station one of several in this area of Yorkshire presumably established when the coal industry was at its peak, what future now?

Over to our left was another nature reserve, the Lower Derwent Valley, and we wondered whether we could have found a way by the river. People were walking their dogs along the embankment and bird watchers scanning the flooded fields [header picture]. Our stint on the road came to an end at the elegant bridge over the Derwent.

Bubwith had some period brick houses and an old church started in Norman times.

Whilst looking around the churchyard we found a seat overlooking the River Derwent for lunch. Looking at the map I notice that this river comes all the way from the North York Moors near Scarborough on its way to join the Ouse. There was a good view back to the bridge with its flood arches.

Originally when plotting a route I thought we would be stuck on the A163 a lot further but Sir Hugh had spotted an old railway line now converted into a trail. We gladly went slightly beyond our ‘mile either side’ limit to access it.

This was the route of the Selby – Driffield railway which closed in 1965. Work has been done recently to unearth Bubwith station platforms. On the way, we met a chatty man walking his dog who worked part-time counselling rugby league players at Castleford Tigers, sounds an interesting job. We steamed into Foggathorpe station ahead of the time table.

That was the end of our three-day jaunt on the 438 line, good walking each day and not a hill climbed or a Harry and Meghan mentioned.

*****

NORTHING 438. CHURCH FENTON to SKIPWITH COMMON (ALMOST)

In this area are scattered some delightful small villages of which we knew very little, a combination of limestone and red bricks giving each one a friendly feel. We are getting to know them and today visit several.

Church Fenton is a long village street with a community shop and a couple of pubs, one doing better than the other. My thoughts today were to photo all the pubs we passed but I kept forgetting. More importantly, there is a railway station. East Coast mainline trains rush through but there is a stopping service to Leeds and York adding to our thoughts that these villages are commuter dormitories.

We opt for a quiet lane rather than muddy fields around an old RAF aerodrome, there is no sign of life this morning.

Rather out of the blue in this flat landscape, we climb stairs to cross that main rail line, a couple of trains thunder through shaking the bridge alarmingly.

A quieter stretch through ploughed fields but fortunately on good tracks and we enter Cawood on the Wolsey Way, more of him later. The village is built around an old medieval manor site, the Garth, which the village own as an open space. We wander into it over a ditch which despite its modest size was used to transport limestone out of the area for buildings in Southern cities. The outline of a moat is clearly seen on the ground. Hidden behind trees is the original gatehouse to the castle and adjacent banqueting hall, the only traces remaining.  An information board tells the history; how the Archbishops of York owned it, how Cardinal Wolsey was arrested here for high treason and the link to Humpty Dumpty, and how the Garth was saved from development by the crested newt. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cawood_Castle

Through the town with its brick houses and narrow streets, two pubs with different fates.

We cross the River Ouse on a fine metal swing bridge which won’t be used for shipping very often.

Once across we use a path on the raised flood embankment into Kelfield with its closed pub and seemingly inadequate flood defences. Lunch is taken in a very comfortable bus stop. Several of the older buildings in this locality have moats and there is one to see just along the lane.

We progress on continued good paths alongside the prosaically named Main Drain, the water flow is considerable given the lack of a discernable incline. One has to be on the alert to mischievous gates. The Watermill Bridge is a bit of an anticlimax. Riccall is another interesting village with a large church.

Once on King Rudding Lane all we have to do is walk back to the car but there is more about this place than is obvious. An information board tells us of its ecology, coal mines, and a wartime aerodrome. The country park car park where everyone is heading is not where we parked this morning so we have more to find tomorrow.

Our walk is finished just after 3pm, ideal to drive back to our comfortable hotel in Hambleton, The Owl.

*****